To evaluate how well current anatomical ontologies fit the way real-world users apply anatomy terms in their data annotations.
Annotations from three diverse multi-species public-domain datasets provided a set of use cases for matching anatomical terms in two major anatomical ontologies (the Foundational Model of Anatomy and Uberon), using two lexical-matching applications (Zooma and Ontology Mapper).
Approximately 1500 terms were identified; Uberon/Zooma mappings provided 286 matches, compared to the control and Ontology Mapper returned 319 matches. For the Foundational Model of Anatomy, Zooma returned 312 matches, and Ontology Mapper returned 397.
Our results indicate that for our datasets the anatomical entities or concepts are embedded in user-generated complex terms, and while lexical mapping works, anatomy ontologies do not provide the majority of terms users supply when annotating data. Provision of searchable cross-products for compositional terms is a key requirement for using ontologies.
Motivation: The classification of biological entities in terms of species and taxa is an important endeavor in biology. Although a large amount of statements encoded in current biomedical ontologies is taxon-dependent there is no obvious or standard way for introducing taxon information into an integrative ontology architecture, supposedly because of ongoing controversies about the ontological nature of species and taxa.
Results: In this article, we discuss different approaches on how to represent biological taxa using existing standards for biomedical ontologies such as the description logic OWL DL and the Open Biomedical Ontologies Relation Ontology. We demonstrate how hidden ambiguities of the species concept can be dealt with and existing controversies can be overcome. A novel approach is to envisage taxon information as qualities that inhere in biological organisms, organism parts and populations.
Availability: The presented methodology has been implemented in the domain top-level ontology BioTop, openly accessible at http://purl.org/biotop. BioTop may help to improve the logical and ontological rigor of biomedical ontologies and further provides a clear architectural principle to deal with biological taxa information.
The African clawed frogs Xenopus laevis and Xenopus tropicalis are prominent animal model organisms. Xenopus research contributes to the understanding of genetic, developmental and molecular mechanisms underlying human disease. The Xenopus Anatomy Ontology (XAO) reflects the anatomy and embryological development of Xenopus. The XAO provides consistent terminology that can be applied to anatomical feature descriptions along with a set of relationships that indicate how each anatomical entity is related to others in the embryo, tadpole, or adult frog. The XAO is integral to the functionality of Xenbase (http://www.xenbase.org), the Xenopus model organism database.
We significantly expanded the XAO in the last five years by adding 612 anatomical terms, 2934 relationships between them, 640 synonyms, and 547 ontology cross-references. Each term now has a definition, so database users and curators can be certain they are selecting the correct term when specifying an anatomical entity. With developmental timing information now asserted for every anatomical term, the ontology provides internal checks that ensure high-quality gene expression and phenotype data annotation. The XAO, now with 1313 defined anatomical and developmental stage terms, has been integrated with Xenbase expression and anatomy term searches and it enables links between various data types including images, clones, and publications. Improvements to the XAO structure and anatomical definitions have also enhanced cross-references to anatomy ontologies of other model organisms and humans, providing a bridge between Xenopus data and other vertebrates. The ontology is free and open to all users.
The expanded and improved XAO allows enhanced capture of Xenopus research data and aids mechanisms for performing complex retrieval and analysis of gene expression, phenotypes, and antibodies through text-matching and manual curation. Its comprehensive references to ontologies across taxa help integrate these data for human disease modeling.
Anatomy; Bioinformatics; Data annotation; Developmental biology; Embryology; Model organism database; Ontology; Xenopus
The Zebrafish Information Network (ZFIN, http://zfin.org), the model organism database for zebrafish, provides the central location for curated zebrafish genetic, genomic and developmental data. Extensive data integration of mutant phenotypes, genes, expression patterns, sequences, genetic markers, morpholinos, map positions, publications and community resources facilitates the use of the zebrafish as a model for studying gene function, development, behavior and disease. Access to ZFIN data is provided via web-based query forms and through bulk data files. ZFIN is the definitive source for zebrafish gene and allele nomenclature, the zebrafish anatomical ontology (AO) and for zebrafish gene ontology (GO) annotations. ZFIN plays an active role in the development of cross-species ontologies such as the phenotypic quality ontology (PATO) and the gene ontology (GO). Recent enhancements to ZFIN include (i) a new home page and navigation bar, (ii) expanded support for genotypes and phenotypes, (iii) comprehensive phenotype annotations based on anatomical, phenotypic quality and gene ontologies, (iv) a BLAST server tightly integrated with the ZFIN database via ZFIN-specific datasets, (v) a global site search and (vi) help with hands-on resources.
An ontology is a formal representation of a domain modeling the entities in the domain and their relations. When a domain is represented by multiple ontologies, there is need for creating mappings among these ontologies in order to facilitate the integration of data annotated with these ontologies and reasoning across ontologies. The objective of this paper is to recapitulate our experience in aligning large anatomical ontologies and to reflect on some of the issues and challenges encountered along the way. The four anatomical ontologies under investigation are the Foundational Model of Anatomy, GALEN, the Adult Mouse Anatomical Dictionary and the NCI Thesaurus. Their underlying representation formalisms are all different. Our approach to aligning concepts (directly) is automatic, rule-based, and operates at the schema level, generating mostly point-to-point mappings. It uses a combination of domain-specific lexical techniques and structural and semantic techniques (to validate the mappings suggested lexically). It also takes advantage of domain-specific knowledge (lexical knowledge from external resources such as the Unified Medical Language System, as well as knowledge augmentation and inference techniques). In addition to point-to-point mapping of concepts, we present the alignment of relationships and the mapping of concepts group-to-group. We have also successfully tested an indirect alignment through a domain-specific reference ontology. We present an evaluation of our techniques, both against a gold standard established manually and against a generic schema matching system. The advantages and limitations of our approach are analyzed and discussed throughout the paper.
Ontology; ontology alignment; knowledge representation; anatomy; Semantic Web
The rich knowledge of morphological variation among organisms reported in the systematic literature has remained in free-text format, impractical for use in large-scale synthetic phylogenetic work. This noncomputable format has also precluded linkage to the large knowledgebase of genomic, genetic, developmental, and phenotype data in model organism databases. We have undertaken an effort to prototype a curated, ontology-based evolutionary morphology database that maps to these genetic databases (http://kb.phenoscape.org) to facilitate investigation into the mechanistic basis and evolution of phenotypic diversity. Among the first requirements in establishing this database was the development of a multispecies anatomy ontology with the goal of capturing anatomical data in a systematic and computable manner. An ontology is a formal representation of a set of concepts with defined relationships between those concepts. Multispecies anatomy ontologies in particular are an efficient way to represent the diversity of morphological structures in a clade of organisms, but they present challenges in their development relative to single-species anatomy ontologies. Here, we describe the Teleost Anatomy Ontology (TAO), a multispecies anatomy ontology for teleost fishes derived from the Zebrafish Anatomical Ontology (ZFA) for the purpose of annotating varying morphological features across species. To facilitate interoperability with other anatomy ontologies, TAO uses the Common Anatomy Reference Ontology as a template for its upper level nodes, and TAO and ZFA are synchronized, with zebrafish terms specified as subtypes of teleost terms. We found that the details of ontology architecture have ramifications for querying, and we present general challenges in developing a multispecies anatomy ontology, including refinement of definitions, taxon-specific relationships among terms, and representation of taxonomically variable developmental pathways.
Bioinformatics; devo-evo; fish; morphology; ontology; Teleostei
The goal of the Plant Ontology™ Consortium is to produce structured controlled vocabularies,
arranged in ontologies, that can be applied to plant-based database information
even as knowledge of the biology of the relevant plant taxa (e.g. development, anatomy,
morphology, genomics, proteomics) is accumulating and changing. The collaborators of the
Plant Ontology™ Consortium (POC) represent a number of core participant database
groups. The Plant Ontology™ Consortium is expanding the paradigm of the Gene
Ontology™ Consortium (http://www.geneontology.org). Various trait ontologies (agronomic
traits, mutant phenotypes, phenotypes, traits, and QTL) and plant ontologies (plant
development, anatomy [incl. morphology]) for several taxa (Arabidopsis, maize/corn/Zea mays
and rice/Oryza) are under development. The products of the Plant Ontology™ Consortium will be open-source.
Several biomedical ontologies cover the domain of biological functions, including molecular and cellular functions. However, there is currently no publicly available ontology of anatomical functions.
Consequently, no explicit relation between anatomical structures and their functions is expressed in the anatomy ontologies that are available for various species. Such an explicit relation between anatomical structures and their functions would be useful both for defining the classes of the anatomy and the phenotype ontologies accurately.
We provide an ontological analysis of functions and functional abnormalities. From this analysis, we derive an approach to the automatic extraction of anatomical functions from existing ontologies which uses a combination of natural language processing, graph-based analysis of the ontologies and formal inferences. Additionally, we introduce a new relation to link material objects to processes that realize the function of these objects. This relation is introduced to avoid a needless duplication of processes already covered by the Gene Ontology in a new ontology of anatomical functions.
Ontological considerations on the nature of functional abnormalities and their representation in current phenotype ontologies show that we can extract a skeleton for an ontology of anatomical functions by using a combination of process, phenotype and anatomy ontologies automatically. We identify several limitations of the current ontologies that still need to be addressed to ensure a consistent and complete representation of anatomical functions and their abnormalities.
The source code and results of our analysis are available at http://bioonto.de.
Taxonomic descriptions are unparalleled sources of knowledge of life's phenotypic diversity. As natural language prose, these data sets are largely refractory to computation and integration with other sources of phenotypic data. By formalizing taxonomic descriptions using ontology-based semantic representation, we aim to increase the reusability and computability of taxonomists' primary data. Here, we present a revision of the ensign wasp (Hymenoptera: Evaniidae) fauna of New Caledonia using this new model for species description. Descriptive matrices, specimen data, and taxonomic nomenclature are gathered in a unified Web-based application, mx, then exported as both traditional taxonomic treatments and semantic statements using the OWL Web Ontology Language. Character:character-state combinations are then annotated following the entity–quality phenotype model, originally developed to represent mutant model organism phenotype data; concepts of anatomy are drawn from the Hymenoptera Anatomy Ontology and linked to phenotype descriptors from the Phenotypic Quality Ontology. The resulting set of semantic statements is provided in Resource Description Framework format. Applying the model to real data, that is, specimens, taxonomic names, diagnoses, descriptions, and redescriptions, provides us with a foundation to discuss limitations and potential benefits such as automated data integration and reasoner-driven queries. Four species of ensign wasp are now known to occur in New Caledonia: Szepligetella levipetiolata, Szepligetella deercreeki Deans and Mikó sp. nov., Szepligetella irwini Deans and Mikó sp. nov., and the nearly cosmopolitan Evania appendigaster. A fifth species, Szepligetella sericea, including Szepligetella impressa, syn. nov., has not yet been collected in New Caledonia but can be found on islands throughout the Pacific and so is included in the diagnostic key. [Biodiversity informatics; Evaniidae; New Caledonia; new species; ontology; semantic phenotypes; semantic species description; taxonomy.]
Researchers use animal studies to better understand human diseases. In recent years, large-scale phenotype studies such as Phenoscape and EuroPhenome have been initiated to identify genetic causes of a species' phenome. Species-specific phenotype ontologies are required to capture and report about all findings and to automatically infer results relevant to human diseases. The integration of the different phenotype ontologies into a coherent framework is necessary to achieve interoperability for cross-species research.
Here, we investigate the quality and completeness of two different methods to align the Human Phenotype Ontology and the Mammalian Phenotype Ontology. The first method combines lexical matching with inference over the ontologies' taxonomic structures, while the second method uses a mapping algorithm based on the formal definitions of the ontologies. Neither method could map all concepts. Despite the formal definitions method provides mappings for more concepts than does the lexical matching method, it does not outperform the lexical matching in a biological use case. Our results suggest that combining both approaches will yield a better mappings in terms of completeness, specificity and application purposes.
Motivation: Most anatomical ontologies are species-specific, whereas a framework for comparative studies is needed. We describe the vertebrate Homologous Organs Groups ontology, vHOG, used to compare expression patterns between species.
Results: vHOG is a multispecies anatomical ontology for the vertebrate lineage. It is based on the HOGs used in the Bgee database of gene expression evolution. vHOG version 1.4 includes 1184 terms, follows OBO principles and is based on the Common Anatomy Reference Ontology (CARO). vHOG only describes structures with historical homology relations between model vertebrate species. The mapping to species-specific anatomical ontologies is provided as a separate file, so that no homology hypothesis is stated within the ontology itself. Each mapping has been manually reviewed, and we provide support codes and references when available.
Availability and implementation: vHOG is available from the Bgee download site (http://bgee.unil.ch/), as well as from the OBO Foundry and the NCBO Bioportal websites.
The Plant Ontology Consortium (POC, http://www.plantontology.org) is a collaborative effort among model plant genome databases and plant researchers that aims to create, maintain and facilitate the use of a controlled vocabulary (ontology) for plants. The ontology allows users to ascribe attributes of plant structure (anatomy and morphology) and developmental stages to data types, such as genes and phenotypes, to provide a semantic framework to make meaningful cross-species and database comparisons. The POC builds upon groundbreaking work by the Gene Ontology Consortium (GOC) by adopting and extending the GOC's principles, existing software and database structure. Over the past year, POC has added hundreds of ontology terms to associate with thousands of genes and gene products from Arabidopsis, rice and maize, which are available through a newly updated web-based browser (http://www.plantontology.org/amigo/go.cgi) for viewing, searching and querying. The Consortium has also implemented new functionalities to facilitate the application of PO in genomic research and updated the website to keep the contents current. In this report, we present a brief description of resources available from the website, changes to the interfaces, data updates, community activities and future enhancement.
The Zebrafish Anatomy Ontology (ZFA) is an OBO Foundry ontology that is used in conjunction with the Zebrafish Stage Ontology (ZFS) to describe the gross and cellular anatomy and development of the zebrafish, Danio rerio, from single cell zygote to adult. The zebrafish model organism database (ZFIN) uses the ZFA and ZFS to annotate phenotype and gene expression data from the primary literature and from contributed data sets.
The ZFA models anatomy and development with a subclass hierarchy, a partonomy, and a developmental hierarchy and with relationships to the ZFS that define the stages during which each anatomical entity exists. The ZFA and ZFS are developed utilizing OBO Foundry principles to ensure orthogonality, accessibility, and interoperability. The ZFA has 2860 classes representing a diversity of anatomical structures from different anatomical systems and from different stages of development.
The ZFA describes zebrafish anatomy and development semantically for the purposes of annotating gene expression and anatomical phenotypes. The ontology and the data have been used by other resources to perform cross-species queries of gene expression and phenotype data, providing insights into genetic relationships, morphological evolution, and models of human disease.
Anatomy ontologies play an increasingly important role in developing integrated bioinformatics applications. One of the primary relationships between anatomical tissues represented in such ontologies is part-of. As there are a number of ways to divide up the anatomical structure of an organism, each may be represented by more than one valid partonomic (part-of) hierarchy. This raises the issue of how to represent and integrate multiple such hierarchies.
In this paper we describe a solution that is based on our work on an anatomy ontology for mouse embryo development, which is part of the Edinburgh Mouse Atlas Project (EMAP). The paper describes the basic conceptual aspects of our approach and discusses strengths and limitations of the proposed solution. A prototype was implemented in Prolog for evaluation purposes.
With the proposed name set approach, rather than having to standardise hierarchies, it is sufficient to agree on a suitable set of basic tissue terms and their meaning in order to facilitate the integration of multiple partonomic hierarchies.
Elucidating disease and developmental dysfunction requires understanding variation in phenotype. Single-species model organism anatomy ontologies (ssAOs) have been established to represent this variation. Multi-species anatomy ontologies (msAOs; vertebrate skeletal, vertebrate homologous, teleost, amphibian AOs) have been developed to represent ‘natural’ phenotypic variation across species. Our aim has been to integrate ssAOs and msAOs for various purposes, including establishing links between phenotypic variation and candidate genes.
Previously, msAOs contained a mixture of unique and overlapping content. This hampered integration and coordination due to the need to maintain cross-references or inter-ontology equivalence axioms to the ssAOs, or to perform large-scale obsolescence and modular import. Here we present the unification of anatomy ontologies into Uberon, a single ontology resource that enables interoperability among disparate data and research groups. As a consequence, independent development of TAO, VSAO, AAO, and vHOG has been discontinued.
The newly broadened Uberon ontology is a unified cross-taxon resource for metazoans (animals) that has been substantially expanded to include a broad diversity of vertebrate anatomical structures, permitting reasoning across anatomical variation in extinct and extant taxa. Uberon is a core resource that supports single- and cross-species queries for candidate genes using annotations for phenotypes from the systematics, biodiversity, medical, and model organism communities, while also providing entities for logical definitions in the Cell and Gene Ontologies.
The ontology release files associated with the ontology merge described in this manuscript are available at: http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/uberon/releases/2013-02-21/
Current ontology release files are available always available at: http://purl.obolibrary.org/obo/uberon/releases/
Evolutionary biology; Morphological variation; Phenotype; Semantic integration; Bio-ontology
The need for detailed description and modeling of cells drives the continuous generation of large and diverse datasets. Unfortunately, there exists no systematic and comprehensive way to organize these datasets and their information. CELDA (Cell: Expression, Localization, Development, Anatomy) is a novel ontology for the association of primary experimental data and derived knowledge to various types of cells of organisms.
CELDA is a structure that can help to categorize cell types based on species, anatomical localization, subcellular structures, developmental stages and origin. It targets cells in vitro as well as in vivo. Instead of developing a novel ontology from scratch, we carefully designed CELDA in such a way that existing ontologies were integrated as much as possible, and only minimal extensions were performed to cover those classes and areas not present in any existing model. Currently, ten existing ontologies and models are linked to CELDA through the top-level ontology BioTop. Together with 15.439 newly created classes, CELDA contains more than 196.000 classes and 233.670 relationship axioms. CELDA is primarily used as a representational framework for modeling, analyzing and comparing cells within and across species in CellFinder, a web based data repository on cells (http://cellfinder.org).
CELDA can semantically link diverse types of information about cell types. It has been integrated within the research platform CellFinder, where it exemplarily relates cell types from liver and kidney during development on the one hand and anatomical locations in humans on the other, integrating information on all spatial and temporal stages. CELDA is available from the CellFinder website: http://cellfinder.org/about/ontology.
This paper describes the AEO, an ontology of anatomical entities that expands the common anatomy reference ontology (CARO) and whose major novel feature is a type hierarchy of ~160 anatomical terms. The breadth of the AEO is wider than CARO as it includes both developmental and gender-specific classes, while the granularity of the AEO terms is at a level adequate to classify simple-tissues (~70 classes) characterized by their containing a predominantly single cell-type. For convenience and to facilitate interoperability, the AEO contains an abbreviated version of the ontology of cell-types (~100 classes) that is linked to these simple-tissue types. The AEO was initially based on an analysis of a broad range of animal anatomy ontologies and then upgraded as it was used to classify the ~2500 concepts in a new version of the ontology of human developmental anatomy (www.obofoundry.org/), a process that led to significant improvements in its structure and content, albeit with a possible focus on mammalian embryos. The AEO is intended to provide the formal classification expected in contemporary ontologies as well as capturing knowledge about anatomical structures not currently included in anatomical ontologies. The AEO may thus be useful in increasing the amount of tissue and cell-type knowledge in other anatomy ontologies, facilitating annotation of tissues that share common features, and enabling interoperability across anatomy ontologies. The AEO can be downloaded from http://www.obofoundry.org/.
anatomical hierarchy; cell-type assignations; ontology; tissue classification
Abstract Objective: Conceptualization of the physical objects and
spaces that constitute the human body at the macroscopic level of
organization, specified as a machine-parseable ontology that, in its
human-readable form, is comprehensible to both expert and novice users of
Design: Conceived as an anatomical enhancement of the UMLS Semantic
Network and Metathesaurus, the anatomical ontology was formulated by
specifying defining attributes and differentia for classes and subclasses of
physical anatomical entities based on their partitive and spatial
relationships. The validity of the classification was assessed by
instantiating the ontology for the thorax. Several transitive relationships
were used for symbolically modeling aspects of the physical organization of
Results: By declaring Organ as the macroscopic
organizational unit of the body, and defining the entities that constitute
organs and higher level entities constituted by organs, all anatomical
entities could be assigned to one of three top level classes (Anatomical
structure, Anatomical spatial entity and Body substance). The
ontology accommodates both the systemic and regional (topographical) views of
anatomy, as well as diverse clinical naming conventions of anatomical
Conclusions: The ontology formulated for the thorax is extendible to
microscopic and cellular levels, as well as to other body parts, in that its
classes subsume essentially all anatomical entities that constitute the body.
Explicit definitions of these entities and their relationships provide the
first requirement for standards in anatomical concept representation.
Conceived from an anatomical viewpoint, the ontology can be generalized and
mapped to other biomedical domains and problem solving tasks that require
The Adult Mouse Anatomical Dictionary was developed to provide an ontology for standardized nomenclature for anatomical terms in the postnatal mouse. The ontology will be used to annotate and integrate different types of data pertinent to anatomy.
We have developed an ontology to provide standardized nomenclature for anatomical terms in the postnatal mouse. The Adult Mouse Anatomical Dictionary is structured as a directed acyclic graph, and is organized hierarchically both spatially and functionally. The ontology will be used to annotate and integrate different types of data pertinent to anatomy, such as gene expression patterns and phenotype information, which will contribute to an integrated description of biological phenomena in the mouse.
The @neurIST ontology is currently under development within the scope of the European project @neurIST intended to serve as a module in a complex architecture aiming at providing a better understanding and management of intracranial aneurysms and subarachnoid hemorrhages. Due to the integrative structure of the project the ontology needs to represent entities from various disciplines on a large spatial and temporal scale. Initial term acquisition was performed by exploiting a database scaffold, literature analysis and communications with domain experts. The ontology design is based on the DOLCE upper ontology and other existing domain ontologies were linked or partly included whenever appropriate (e.g., the FMA for anatomical entities and the UMLS for definitions and lexical information). About 2300 predominantly medical entities were represented but also a multitude of biomolecular, epidemiological, and hemodynamic entities. The usage of the ontology in the project comprises terminological control, text mining, annotation, and data mediation.
Medical Informatics Applications; Ontology design; Intracranial aneurysm; Subarachnoid hemorrhage; Terminology
This paper describes an approach to providing computer-interpretable logical definitions for the terms of the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) using PATO, the ontology of phenotypic qualities, to link terms of the HPO to the anatomic and other entities that are affected by abnormal phenotypic qualities. This approach will allow improved computerized reasoning as well as a facility to compare phenotypes between different species. The PATO mapping will also provide direct links from phenotypic abnormalities and underlying anatomic structures encoded using the Foundational Model of Anatomy, which will be a valuable resource for computational investigations of the links between anatomical components and concepts representing diseases with abnormal phenotypes and associated genes.
The wealth of phenotypic descriptions documented in the published articles, monographs, and dissertations of phylogenetic systematics is traditionally reported in a free-text format, and it is therefore largely inaccessible for linkage to biological databases for genetics, development, and phenotypes, and difficult to manage for large-scale integrative work. The Phenoscape project aims to represent these complex and detailed descriptions with rich and formal semantics that are amenable to computation and integration with phenotype data from other fields of biology. This entails reconceptualizing the traditional free-text characters into the computable Entity-Quality (EQ) formalism using ontologies.
We used ontologies and the EQ formalism to curate a collection of 47 phylogenetic studies on ostariophysan fishes (including catfishes, characins, minnows, knifefishes) and their relatives with the goal of integrating these complex phenotype descriptions with information from an existing model organism database (zebrafish, http://zfin.org). We developed a curation workflow for the collection of character, taxonomic and specimen data from these publications. A total of 4,617 phenotypic characters (10,512 states) for 3,449 taxa, primarily species, were curated into EQ formalism (for a total of 12,861 EQ statements) using anatomical and taxonomic terms from teleost-specific ontologies (Teleost Anatomy Ontology and Teleost Taxonomy Ontology) in combination with terms from a quality ontology (Phenotype and Trait Ontology). Standards and guidelines for consistently and accurately representing phenotypes were developed in response to the challenges that were evident from two annotation experiments and from feedback from curators.
The challenges we encountered and many of the curation standards and methods for improving consistency that we developed are generally applicable to any effort to represent phenotypes using ontologies. This is because an ontological representation of the detailed variations in phenotype, whether between mutant or wildtype, among individual humans, or across the diversity of species, requires a process by which a precise combination of terms from domain ontologies are selected and organized according to logical relations. The efficiencies that we have developed in this process will be useful for any attempt to annotate complex phenotypic descriptions using ontologies. We also discuss some ramifications of EQ representation for the domain of systematics.
BTO, the BRENDA Tissue Ontology (http://www.BTO.brenda-enzymes.org) represents a comprehensive structured encyclopedia of tissue terms. The project started in 2003 to create a connection between the enzyme data collection of the BRENDA enzyme database and a structured network of source tissues and cell types. Currently, BTO contains more than 4600 different anatomical structures, tissues, cell types and cell lines, classified under generic categories corresponding to the rules and formats of the Gene Ontology Consortium and organized as a directed acyclic graph (DAG). Most of the terms are endowed with comments on their derivation or definitions. The content of the ontology is constantly curated with ∼1000 new terms each year. Four different types of relationships between the terms are implemented. A versatile web interface with several search and navigation functionalities allows convenient online access to the BTO and to the enzymes isolated from the tissues. Important areas of applications of the BTO terms are the detection of enzymes in tissues and the provision of a solid basis for text-mining approaches in this field. It is widely used by lab scientists, curators of genomic and biochemical databases and bioinformaticians. The BTO is freely available at http://www.obofoundry.org.
The diverse set of human brain structure and function analysis methods represents a difficult challenge for reconciling multiple views of neuroanatomical organization. While different views of organization are expected and valid, no widely adopted approach exists to harmonize different brain labeling protocols and terminologies. Our approach uses the natural organizing framework provided by anatomical structure to correlate terminologies commonly used in neuroimaging.
The Foundational Model of Anatomy (FMA) Ontology provides a semantic framework for representing the anatomical entities and relationships that constitute the phenotypic organization of the human body. In this paper we describe recent enhancements to the neuroanatomical content of the FMA that models cytoarchitectural and morphological regions of the cerebral cortex, as well as white matter structure and connectivity. This modeling effort is driven by the need to correlate and reconcile the terms used in neuroanatomical labeling protocols. By providing an ontological framework that harmonizes multiple views of neuroanatomical organization, the FMA provides developers with reusable and computable knowledge for a range of biomedical applications.
A requirement for facilitating the integration of basic and clinical neuroscience data from diverse sources is a well-structured ontology that can incorporate, organize, and associate neuroanatomical data. We applied the ontological framework of the FMA to align the vocabularies used by several human brain atlases, and to encode emerging knowledge about structural connectivity in the brain. We highlighted several use cases of these extensions, including ontology reuse, neuroimaging data annotation, and organizing 3D brain models.
Data integration; Neuroanatomy; Neuroscience; Ontology; Brain atlas; Neuroinformatics; Information retrieval; mri
Ontologies provide an important resource to integrate information. For developmental biology and comparative anatomy studies, ontologies of a species are used to formalize and annotate data that are related to anatomical structures, their lineage and timing of development. Here, we have constructed the first ontology for anatomy and asexual development (blastogenesis) of a bilaterian, the colonial tunicate Botryllus schlosseri. Tunicates, like Botryllus schlosseri, are non-vertebrates and the only chordate taxon species that reproduce both sexually and asexually. Their tadpole larval stage possesses structures characteristic of all chordates, i.e. a notochord, a dorsal neural tube, and gill slits. Larvae settle and metamorphose into individuals that are either solitary or colonial. The latter reproduce both sexually and asexually and these two reproductive modes lead to essentially the same adult body plan. The Botryllus schlosseri Ontology of Development and Anatomy (BODA) will facilitate the comparison between both types of development. BODA uses the rules defined by the Open Biomedical Ontologies Foundry. It is based on studies that investigate the anatomy, blastogenesis and regeneration of this organism. BODA features allow the users to easily search and identify anatomical structures in the colony, to define the developmental stage, and to follow the morphogenetic events of a tissue and/or organ of interest throughout asexual development. We invite the scientific community to use this resource as a reference for the anatomy and developmental ontology of B. schlosseri and encourage recommendations for updates and improvements.